Well good afternoon everyone. We are just nicely into Week 6 here at Camp Chestermere and in some ways on the home stretch to the end of the summer. Week 6 is slightly different as last year we implemented a new system where we take the August long weekend off and don't start camp until Monday at 5 instead of Sunday at 5. A short break but well needed. We also close the camp to rental groups for this weekend so that everyone could truly get a break. A number of our staff went away camping together and my family went as well. BUT, thanks to my awesome, incredible, wonderful, cannot say enough good things about her wife Michelle (Hockey Mom) I got to stay home. It was amazing. No one home. No one onsite. No one to answer to. I shut my phone off, put the lap top away and watched Netflix and played video games all weekend. It was a little slice of heaven in my life. Helped to recharge the batteries for the final four weeks of the summer.
Week 5 Update
Week five was Kids Camp Ages 7 - 11 and the theme was Disney. Friday breakfast was amazing because we put on a bunch of Disney shorts and the kids loved it. It was a great way to start Friday because everyone is usually pretty tired by Friday. The dining room was pretty quiet.
We had 113 campers in Overnight, 97 in Day Camp and 22 campers finished their 2nd year of CLTD. Nice big full camps and a great way to end the month of July. Our Guest Speaker was Alanna Jacobs. Her and her husband used to work up north at IPPC Camp. Now, small connection, IPPC was the first camp I ever spoke just over 11 years ago and I met Alanna while I was there. Small world to have her here speaking. She did an awesome job engaging the campers and helping them to understand what it means to be Undaunted.
One of the big highlights from this week was the out trip we did on Wednesday. Wednesday August 1 was National Play Day and Chestermere held it's own large Play Day event at the Rec Centre. In keeping with our ongoing goal of building relationships with our community and participating with our community, Camp Chestermere brought our entire Overnight Camp to the event. AND, we did it by boat. YUP, 113 campers plus staff were transported by power boat from Camp Chestermere to the Rec Centre for the event. At the event were a number of other community organizations including Synergy, Chestermere Rugby, Chestermere Minor Football, Mobile Playground and more. It was awesome. The campers and staff had a ton of fun. One of our staff wrote this as her weekly highlight:
Unfortunately the weather didn't help us out too much and we had to scramble to find an alternative way for the campers to make it back to Camp Chestermere. HUGE!!!!!!! thank you to Sue from Little Leaders for letting us borrow her vans and for driving and to JR Transportation for bringing us a bus at the last minute. Would have been great to bring all the kids back via the lake but it just wasn't possible. It is just awesome to have such great community partners like Little Leaders and JR Transportation who are willing to step up and bail us out of a jam. I also want to say a huge thank you to the Chestermere RCMP. We informed them that we were transporting all the campers via the lake and they were so supportive and helpful. I cannot say enough good things about the RCMP Detachment here in Chestermere. They are consistently so good to us and it is so appreciated. Despite the weather and small hiccup in transportation that it caused, it was a great out trip and the campers had an amazing time. Thank you to Assistant Director Collin (Deuce) and our Programs Team Chase (Stokes) and Courtney (Crayola) for all of your efforts in organizing this trip.
AND, we had another community partner on site this week as well. Community Therapy Dogs, formerly Chestermere Therapy Dogs, came for a visit. It was awesome. The campers all had a chance to hang out with the dogs. BUT, to be honest, I think it was more therapeutic for the staff than the campers. Our staff have asked for us to bring them back for Staff Training and for Staff Retreat.
So, busy week with lots of great support from community partners. Here are some of the highlights from the staff.
"The staff really supported and encouraged each other often this week" Spark
"Camper saying, "the wind is awesome because it will catch you," and then trust falling straight backwards into the dirt." This story is hilarious because it is like it sounds. The wind was blowing pretty hard and this camper thought the wind would hold him up if he leaned back into it and he literally fell back on his rear end. At Camp Chestermere we call those life lessons. Ha.
"When I got wrapped in duct tape on a chair" Pharaoh. Yup. Like it sounds. A bunch of Day Campers got a hold of some duct tape and.... well.... a leader ended up duct taped to a chair. I love camp.
We encourage all of Seasonal Leadership Team to take a week off between May and August. Last week our Female Team Lead Giraffe took her week off and Chime filled in. Chime's highlight, "Being Team Lead was bomb and same with being on worship"
"My highlight this week was getting so close to my cabin girls. It was a great first week of being on staff" Aqua
"My camper made me walk with her to her car and tried to get me in her car to bring me home with her on the last day" Jewel
"One day I was very tired and I was sitting on a bench outside the Chap with my kids and I looked up and saw them passing a ball and laughing sooooooo hard. It was really great to see." Wonka
"I had an amazing week but the best part was watching (one of our Helping All Campers Succeed Campers) build up the courage to try power tubing and then she went and did it and enjoyed it" Dragonfly. This program has been an awesome addition to our programming this summer. Huge success for so many campers.
And then two highlights that just warm a Director's heart and help put fuel in the tank:
"When my grandpa had a heart attack in the middle of the week and the staff were so understanding when I needed a break and so sweet and praying for me. This is why I love the family that we have at camp because this is who the staff are - family" Flicker
"My highlight was watching this one little boy chase Kermit around and around the lodge. Looking for him hiding around corners and giggling the whole way. I've loved watching the small moments of the Leadership Team getting to connect with the campers as we often don't get to. Little joyful moments" Star
So while we are still in the middle of Summer 2018, one of the things about being a Director is that I am often a few months, or year, ahead and always looking forward and planning for the future. That being said, we have an exciting announcement to make. Starting on September 1, 2018, Erik Davis (Baloo) will be joining our Year Round team and serving in a couple of different capacities. He will be serving working in the kitchen, doing some Guest Services and......, best of all, taking on the role of CLTD Coordinator. Baloo's greatest strength is his ability to attract people and grow a program and this is exactly what we need right now in our CLTD Program. Baloo and I will be working closely together on exactly what this will look like but what we can say is that it will not look like what the CLTD Coordinator position has traditionally looked like. We really do want to grow and expand this program as I am big believer in CLTD and I think we are only scratching the surface of what we can accomplish with the program. I can't wait to announce some of the new things we will be doing and there will be some other staffing news as well. Congrats Baloo on this new position and I can't wait to see where we are going to take CLTD.
A couple of prayer requests. First of all, it is mid way through the summer and some staff are starting to feel it. Prayers for strength in not growing weary in well doing would be great. Along with this, there has been a bit of a flu bug hitting us and so prayers for people not getting sick and/or recovering quickly would be great.
Secondly, we are entering grant writing season and grants are integral to us being able to do some of the things we do. I have a number of grant applications due this month. Prayers for wisdom in writing these and then in us receiving them would be great.
And finally, just prayers for encouragement would be greatly appreciated. It is sooooooooo easy, like way easier, to point out the things that aren't good then it is to find words of encouragement and blessing. So some prayers in the area of giving and receiving encouragement would be great. We know that the tongue holds the power of life and death. Having prayers for people speaking life over each other and over our camp would be amazing.
It's been a great summer so far. Full camps, lots of fun and lots of kids going home with smiles on their faces and wanting to come back which is always the goal. Please do go and check out our Donate Your Change, see below, and our general giving page. Would be great to increase our monthly giving, especially for our Jar Jar's Kids Program. We have had many kids coming to camp this year that can't afford to come and so to help from our extended community would be great. And, check out our ATB Cares Program as well, also below. Remember, every donation is tax deducible. As always, thanks for your ongoing love, care and support.
Donate Your Change